in Women's Work?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780226660394
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226660417 | DOI:

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The prevalence of female teachers in a region and later throughout all regions may have affected American history generally. The economic historian Susan Carter has noted one important possibility. Although knowledge is to some extent its own reward, it also has economic value. Teachers, in other words, help produce an important intermediate good—“human capital”—that, by raising labor productivity, promoted economic growth in the long run. Because female teachers were cheaper to hire than male teachers, the economic cost of producing human capital was cheaper than it otherwise would have been, providing a boost to its production and hence to long-term economic growth. A distinguishing feature of American education has long been the similarity of educational attainments between men and women, despite the fact that, until quite recently, women spent a much smaller fraction of their adult lives in the paid labor force. Indeed, at least a rough similarity must have been a necessary context for the subsequent feminization of schoolteaching.

Keywords: female teachers; economic value; human capital; American education; labor force; schoolteaching

Chapter.  2910 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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